Time for my monthly craft book review! With a one month old who has come out of her sleepy phase and a toddler who only naps once every few days, I knew I needed something fast and satisfying. I pulled out “Sewing in a Straight Line“*(affiliate link) by Brett Bara to read! I’m reviewing one book a month this year, check out my other sewing/craft book reviews on this page!
I checked this book out from the library when I first started sewing, and added it to my wish list because I loved the variety of clothes that didn’t require pattern pieces. A family member bought it for me recently, and I was a little less excited about the clothes section because I am in a different stage of life now. I don’t really wear skirts or dresses very often and have plenty of more sophisticated blouse/cardigan patterns.
The book pitches itself as for beginners, but I think some of the suggested materials are more advanced (chiffon, vinyl). I can see this working as a positive or a negative, depending on the tenacity of the sewist!
The author appears to have designed all of the projects for this book, as opposed to contributors. I think this lends itself to a really cohesive aesthetic – if you like one project, you’ll probably like all of them!
I did the ‘clutter-busting bucket tote’ project – I made it one inch shorter and narrower because I wanted to use up the denim scrap I had. The lining is an adorable print from Birch Organics, leftover from the log slice poufs I designed for them.
They showed it with the handles straight up, but I liked them flopped out better.
The project was very straightforward and sewed up easily. For future totes I might make the lining a tiny bit smaller but it wasn’t hard to sew together. I’m going to stash a favorite baby book and some other goodies in here and gift it to a friend who is due next month!
Book: “Sewing in a Straight Line: Quick and Crafty Projects You Can Make by Simply Sewing Straight“* By Brett Bara
Publisher: Potter Craft
Focus: Ostensibly for the beginning sewist, it is a project book with clothing, home dec, and giftable projects that consists solely of straight lines.
Project List Overview:
Straight-up Chic Fashion: The One-Hour Skirt / Quilty Zigs and Zags / Shirred to the Max / Easy, Breezy Blouse / City Girl Tote / First Time’s a Charm Cardi / Heavy Metal Bag / The 60-Second Belt / Sewing School Skirt / Origami Dress
Cozy, Crafty Home: Customized Curtains, Two Ways / World’s Easiest Zippered Throw Pillow / 15-Minute Shams / Make-It-Your-Way Ottoman Cover / DIY Duvet Cover / Clutter-Busting Bucket Tote / Pixelated Throw / Wonky Diamonds On Point
Quick, Cute Gifts: Folded Flower Bowls / Staggering Strips Baby Quilt / 60 Second Hello / 9-to-5 Folder / The Magic Sewing Kit / On-the-Go Jewelry Keeper / Denim Dop Bag / Mister Bunny and Miss Kitty
- All the clothes are drafted off your measurements, which eliminates the process of printing, tracing, or cutting a pattern. I like that it is inclusive of all sizes in that way.
- The project samples are beautifully sewn and photographed!
- There is a great range of complexity, which could keep someone engaged for quite some time. A few of the gifts and home dec projects are unique, which is refreshing.
- Again, the “sewing essentials” list bugs me. Bara is at least honest – when she lists a ‘clapper’ she also admits she doesn’t own one and had to improvise. So why even include it? There’s also no direct mention of what I think is one of the most important distinctions in supplies – ballpoint vs. woven needles.
- There isn’t any mention of woven vs. knit in the ‘fabric basics’ section, which again is a pretty important basic. In some of the projects, it isn’t explicitly stated, so it would be easy for a beginner to snag the wrong type and be frustrated.
- Finishing seams is alluded to in a few places, and french seams are used in the projects, but I think a little more discussion of the reason and other options would be appropriate for a beginning sewist.
- There’s no mention of using a stretch stitch in the specific knit project, the First Time’s a Charm Cardi.
- The random bolding/enlargening of adjectives in the project descriptions drives me nuts.
- There is more than one picture for each project, but it’s often very similar? I don’t understand why there are two shots of a shirt front, instead of multiple angles.
Here is a shot of the technical illustration & pattern page to give you an idea of what those look like!
If you like sewing & craft books, check out all my other reviews!